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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is irritable bowel syndrome caused by a lack of fibre?

    I recently read that increasing your fibre levels can help prevent IBS. Should i be looking to increase my fibre levels to help cure this?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

    Thanks

    Mel Haynes

    Nutritionist

    Chef, Scientist and Nutritionist. I specialise culinary nutrition and disease prevention with plant based diets. www.culinetica.com.au View Profile

    Hi,

    It is sometimes confusing but there are two different conditions namely IBS and IBD.

    IBD includes Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis and is the more severe of the two, often resulting in surgery.

    IBS is a less severe form which is diagnosed by symptoms alone, or occassionally by Breath Testing ( see here: http://www.breathtest.com.au/ ) 

    IBD treatment requires very low fibre diets during  a flare up and a high fibre diet when well to avoid flare ups.

    IBS on the other hand has recently been shown respond well to a diet called FODMAPS which stands for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols.
    Fructose, Lactose, Fructans, Sorbitol and Raffinose are all examples of FODMAPs

    A good resource for IBS is dietitian Sue Sheppard's website: http://shepherdworks.com.au/

    Sue has Cookbooks for sale on her website.

    Good luck and Happy Cooking!

    Mel

  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    Solutions for IBS vary from person to person. It is often a result of tension where the bowel goes into spasm sometimes resulting in constipation and other times in diarrhoesa. It is very important to write down what you are eating to isolate what can be causing the IBS. It might not be food. Overeating can also create the symptoms of IBS. Lack of exercise or insufficient fluid can cause constipation which will then lead to bloating and discomfort. Going on a very rigid diet such as FODMAP is not suggested until the condition has been properly investigated. You shoudl see a gastroenterologist and perhaps have a colonoscopy to rule out other complications and then see an Accredited Practising Dietitian for assistance with your diet.

  • 1

    Agree

    Dianne Zebic

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    Dianne Zebic has retired as of 31/01/2015 View Profile

    I think before doing anything it would be best to consult with your GP along with a referral for you to see a dietician, to determine if there are any medical reasons why you suffer from IBS.

    Sometimes IBS can be a stress related condition, and if you are also not having a healthy and balanced lifestyle this can throw your body in chaos.

    Best to seek professional help as it seems this has been a long re-occurring problem that needs to be investigated by your treating allied health professionals.

    If your GP can't find any medical reasons etc… then seeking help from a mental health professional like a counsellor or psychologist that deals with Stress Management, could possibly help you to learn how to relax and cope with stress in more positive ways.

  • Liz Beavis

    Dietitian

    Liz specialises in helping you to feel better, by helping you identify any food, diet or environmental factors that might be triggering your symptoms. Liz … View Profile

    There are lots of different symptoms of IBS, including bloating, abdominal pain, windiness, diarrhoea or constipation (or both!) can be uncomfortable and embarrassing or may be severe enough to get in the way of everyday life.
    I agree with previous responses that recommend that you rule out medical issues first. But if all the tests are clear, what then?
    There is so much information on the internet (not to mention from well-meaning friends and relatives!) about what diet changes can help your IBS, but you may find that it all seems contradictory and leaves you feeling a little confused!
    That’s because there is no single magic food solution to IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a complex issue and can be triggered by any number of foods or environmental triggers, including stress.
    For some people, increasing certain types of fibre may improve their symptoms (make sure you also are drinking plenty of water!), but for others adding more fibre can cause more bloating.
    Other foods that can trigger symptoms can include fatty foods, spicy foods, coffee etc. Some foods which are fermented in your gut may also make your symptoms worse.
    Our clinical approach is to tease apart your symptoms and your food intake to help you identify which foods (or food groups) may be playing a role in your symptoms. I would recommend finding yourself a dietitian with a special interest in IBS to help you take a stepwise approach to doing this.
     
    Liz Beavis APD
    www.newtownnutrition.com.au

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